The Bible tells us that when Paul was in Thessalonica, some unbelieving men started a riot that forced him out of town. He and Silas left the city and went on to Berea where they continued to teach. Many believed Paul’s message and, when the same men of Thessalonica heard about it, they were enraged enough to send men to Berea to stir up agitation there as well. Paul was escorted out of the city and went to Athens to wait for Silas and Timothy to catch up with him.
What drove these persecutors of Paul? Acts 17:5 says they were jealous. Jealous of Paul’s popularity, his apparent “success” as a teacher. Their jealousy led to anger so strong they couldn’t even hear the message Paul was trying to give. Their emotions blocked their ability to receive truth.
Does that ever happen to you? It does to me! We read a Facebook post or a news headline and, immediately, the emotions come to the surface. We have an opinion before we hear the whole story. These feelings block our ability to see truth. This muddled thinking is
- inconvenient when it comes to politics
- detrimental when it comes to social issues, and possibly
- devastating when it comes to spiritual matters.
My prayer when I read about the jealous zealots in Acts that day was this, “Dear Lord, don’t let my emotions or preconceived ideas get in the way of knowing you and understanding the truth you want to teach me.” Maybe that’s a prayer all of us need to pray at times.
“Where I found truth, there I found my God, who is the truth itself.” – Augustine